By Daniel Fama and Jack Creegan
LARGO, MD – For the second time in as many days, the Cecil Seahawks went into overtime to advance in the Maryland Juco Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, this time defeating College of Southern Maryland 91-86 to earn a spot in tomorrow's championship game at Prince George's Community College.
Both teams came in looking to ride the momentum of their quarterfinals upset wins and the battle of the hawks did not disappoint.
Each team played championship caliber basketball in the first half and combined for just nine turnovers.
The back and forth nature of the first half saw both teams surrender six-point leads and featured eight lead changes.
Cecil struggled from distance, shooting 18% on 2-11 shooting. The Seahawks were able to make up for a poor shooting performance by cashing in at the line, making 11-12 free throws.
The Seahawks leading scorer at the break was Jordan Griggs with 10.
Southern Maryland would keep pace with positive shooting from the floor. The Hawks shot over 48% in the half (17-35), led by halftime leading scorer Juwan Smith who recorded 17 points to aid the Hawks 45-43 lead at half.
Cecil came out of the gates hot to start the second half, scoring sixteen points in the first 4:30 behind two big threes from Greg Alexander.
The Seahawks went on an 11-1 run and led by eight early on, but Southern Maryland refused to give in, and roared back to tie the game with 11:30 left in regulation.
The teams traded blows for the remainder of the game.
The Seahawks held onto a slim lead down the home stretch, but eventually the Hawks cut the lead to just one.
With 48 seconds left, Darnell Taylor put the Hawks up one for their first lead since halftime.
Cornell Corbin drew a foul with 37.3 seconds left, but hit just one of his free throws, tying the game at 82.
Smith could not keep possession for Southern Maryland and gave the ball to Cecil with 7.6 remaining.
Cecil was unable to take advantage though, and lost the ball, sending the game into overtime.
Corbin continued his solid night in overtime and put the Seahawks up four with 3:30 remaining.
Smith answered with a huge three to cut the lead to one with 2:40 left to play.
Cecil took the lead 88-86 with 1:02 remaining and never looked back, holding on to win 91-86.
"There was a lot of up and down in this game," Seahawks' head coach Ed Durham said. "Some flow was kind of broken up; for the most part it was two teams battling each other. Realistically, we didn't stop each other. Somebody said to me 'Coach, you only gave up 78 points yesterday in a double overtime game, you gave up 47 already at the half,' but today was a different style, different pace, that's it. [Now it's] time to regroup and battle Harford tomorrow."
Despite turning the ball over just 10 times all game, the Hawks could not generate enough offense to get past Cecil.
Corbin registered the games only double-double, scoring 11 and collecting 10 rebounds.
Griggs led the Seahawks in scoring with 18 points and Alexander scored 17, 13 of which came in the second half and overtime.
Southern Maryland's Smith scored a game-high 26 points and registered nine rebounds.
Leveon Randall also contributed 16 points off the bench.
Cecil advances to the tournament final tomorrow and will face regular season conference champion Harford at 3 p.m.
* Philip McCown and Andrew Feminella contributed to the article.